Alcohol Addiction is an Illness
One that is marked by drinking alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or occupational responsibilities.
Alcohol addiction usually involves physical dependence on alcohol, but genetic, psychological and social factors contribute as well.
A person may continue to abuse alcohol despite serious adverse health, personal, work-related and financial consequences.
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease. Left untreated, alcoholism can be fatal.
Alcohol Addiction is divided into 2 categories: Abuse & Dependence
ALCOHOL ABUSE – Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Abuse means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can harm your relationships, cause you to miss work, and make it hard to do the things you need to do.
It can lead to legal problems, such as being arrested for disorderly conduct or driving while intoxicated. If alcohol abuse continues, it can lead to alcohol dependence.
ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE – Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Dependence is also called alcoholism.Alcoholics cannot quit drinking or control how much they drink, even when they try to.
They are physically and emotionally addicted to alcohol. They often feel like they must drink just to get by. They might drink secretly or hide the amount they drink.
Alcohol controls their lives. Over time, alcoholics need to drink more before they can feel the effects of alcohol. They get grouchy or shaky or have other withdrawal symptoms when they are not able to drink or when they try to quit.
Over time, drinking too much alcohol can cause or make worse health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, gallstones, pancreatitis, and certain types of cancer.
If you have trouble with alcohol, cutting back or quitting can help you live a happier, healthier life.
Alcohol affects the nervous system and can result in nerve damage and severe memory loss. Chronic alcohol use also increases the risk of cancer of the larynx, esophagus, liver, and colon.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects. The most serious is fetal alcohol syndrome, which may result in mental retardation and behavior problems. A milder form of the condition which can still cause lifelong impairment is called fetal alcohol affects.
How Much Drinking Is Too Much? – Alcohol Addiction And Abuse
Drinking can become a habit. You might have friends or family members who drink often, so drinking a lot might seem normal. Or you might not realize how much or how often you drink.
You might not be aware of the problems that alcohol causes in your life. But the more you drink, the greater is your risk for becoming addicted to alcohol. You also have an increased chance of having health problems or other problems as a result.
You are drinking too much if you are:
A woman who has more than 3 drinks at one time or more than 7 standard drinks a week.
A man who has more than 4 drinks at one time or more than 14 standard drinks a week.
Many people who have alcohol problems are successful in other areas of their lives, and they might even be able to hide their problem for years. These people often deny that they have a problem.
The good news is that when people admit to themselves and others that they have a problem and make a commitment to change, most are able to cut their drinking back to a safe level or to quit altogether.
Abuse And Dependence – Alcohol Addiction
It is not clear why some people have problems with alcohol and others do not, although experts know thatalcoholism can be passed down in families(genetic link).
Experts believe that alcohol problems are also caused by cultural values(such as being part of a group of people who drink a lot) and mental health issues (such as drinking as a way of coping with stress or problems).
Psychological factors may include a need for relief of anxiety, ongoing depression, unresolved conflict within relationships, or low self-esteem.Addiction to alcohol is NOT a sign of weakness and DOES NOT mean you lack willpower.
Alcoholism is a long-term disease, just like asthma or diabetes.
Causes Of Alcoholism – Alcohol Addiction
The causes of alcoholism are due to several factors. Most people use alcohol to change how they feel because they want to feel better or different. They use alcohol for the perceived benefits, or the benefits experienced, not for the potential harm.
People use alcohol to relax, have fun, to be part of a group, out
of curiosity, and to escape from physical and/or psychological pain. Many of the reasons teenagers use alcohol are the same reasons adults use alcohol.
Alcoholism can be broken down into two basic phases:
Problem Drinking & Alcohol Addiction
Problem drinking occurs when alcohol is used repetitively, to relieve stress, anxiety, other emotional problems, or combinations of these problems. Problem drinking can be characterized as the early stages of drug addiction or alcoholism.
People often become dependent on alcohol after discovering that it helps relieve stress, and because alcohol is used more and more frequently, as stressful situations arise, a pattern of abuse develops.
This is unfortunate because the more dependent a person is on alcohol, the less stress they can actually handle. This means that as the dependence on alcohol increases, the ability to effectively deal with stress decreases. Stress is only an example, you could literally, substitute almost any emotional problem into this equation.
Alcohol Addiction is a dependence that slowly builds until the individual is drinking nearly constantly.
In extreme cases, this does not just mean every evening, but constantly, during all hours of the day, from the time they get up until the time they go to bed, or pass out.
As tragic as it sounds, this happens every day, in the smallest towns and the largest cities, all over the world. It is also important to remember that many alcoholics may continue for extended periods of time to lead functional, relatively balanced, and productive lives.
This causes the alcoholic to live in denial and makes it more difficult to admit they have a problem and enter an alcohol rehab program.
The causes of alcoholism also includes the drinkers use alcohol to “self-medicate” themselves.
This means that alcohol is used to try to relieve anxiety, depression,tension, loneliness, self-doubt or unhappiness. No one wants to be an alcoholic, but this doesn’t stop people from getting addicted.
The most commonly asked question is simply – how?
How could my son, daughter, father, sister, or brother become a liar, a thief, someone who cannot be trusted? How could this happen? And why won’t they stop? The truth is, they cannot, they oftentimes need the help of an alcohol rehab program.
Effects Of Alcoholism – Alcohol Addiction And Abuse
The effects of alcoholism vary from person to person, but the most common effects seen are changes in emotional state or stability, behavior, and personality.
Alcoholics may become angry and argumentative, or quiet and withdrawn or depressed. They may also feel more anxious, sad, tense, and confused. They then seek relief by drinking more.
Because time and amount of drinking are uncontrollable, the alcoholic is likely to engage in such behaviors as:
- breaking family commitments, both major and minor
- spending more money than planned
- driving while intoxicated and getting arrested
- making inappropriate remarks to friends, family, and co-workers
- arguing, fighting and other anti-social actions.
The alcoholic would probably neither do such things, nor approve of them in others unless he was drinking.
SOCIETY – Alcohol Addiction
Society tends to aid in the development of alcoholism by making alcohol seem glamorous, showing that by drinking, you will become more popular, more glamorous and more worthy of respects from others.
PHYSICAL – Alcohol Addiction
Excessive intake and prolonged use of alcohol can cause serious disturbances in body chemistry and cause someone to need addiction treatment to stop. Many alcoholics exhibit swollen and tender livers.
The prolonged use of large amounts of alcohol without adequate diet may cause serious liver damage, such as cirrhosis of the liver. Alcoholism also causes loss of muscular control.
The condition, delirium tremens(known primarily to heavy drinkers)causes hallucinations along with loss of control of muscular functioning.
When this condition develops and the alcoholic slows their drinking,withdrawal symptoms can and often does occur, which is consistent with all drug addiction. This may include agitation, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations.
Alcohol detox is necessary to deal with these symptoms. Alcoholism also cause’s damage to the brain.
Alcoholics may suffer from lack of concentration.
The alcoholic may also experience blackouts, occasional onsets of memory lapses, and possibly complete memory loss. They may also suffer from more serious forms of brain damage.
Alcohol And Weight Gain – Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is full of “Empty” calories, which are immediately converted to fat, and promptly deposited on our hips and bellies, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Numerous studies on relation between alcohol consumption and body weight are often contradictory.
How much alcohol, what type of alcohol, lifestyle and gender all seem to play a role in determining how alcohol will affect your weight.
Calorie Breakdown – Alcohol Addiction
- An average 12-ounce domestic beer contains about 150 calories
- A 3 ½-ounce glass of sweet wine contains about 150 calories
- 1 ½ ounces of 90-proof alcohol contains
Carbonated beverages or fruit juices contribute additional calories when mixed with alcohol in a cocktail. And, fancy drinks like white Russians are heavy on alcohol, sugar and cream and can contain more then 500 calories.
Not only does alcohol add unneeded calories but it also inhibits your ability to burn fat. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and converted into a substance called acetate.
When we consume alcohol, our acetate levels rise and our bodies then burn acetate as fuel instead of burning the fat we are trying to lose. So, alcohol not only adds empty calories, but also hampers the normal fat-burning processes.
Many studies have revealed, and most health professionals agree, thatweight gain is greatest
among men who are persistent high-volume drinkers. The more they drink and the longer they drink, the more weight they gain.
Although alcohol adds calories, research has proven that light to moderate drinking (two or less drinks per day) is not associated with weight gain in women.
Here is an Internet resource that we highly recommend:
Lasting-Weight-Loss.com – The site is packed with information about lasting natural weight loss, tips, techniques, how to curb carbohydrate addiction, a cure for emotional eating, free diets and weight loss exercise programs.
FAMILIES AND EMPLOYERS – Alcohol Addiction
Families must deal with emotions such as anger towards the alcoholic and guilt over what role they believe they may play in the addiction.
Family breakdown, financial problems, legal problems and psychological troubles all result from alcoholism.
Society as a whole also pays a price for the alcoholic’s addiction.
Employers may see productivity affected. Police and law courts may deal with crimes committed by alcoholics while they are drunk. Families, employers and the law can seek the services of an alcohol rehabilitation program to help prevent alcoholism.
Only 15% of those with alcohol dependence seek treatment for this disease.
Relapse after treatment is common, so it is important to maintain support systems in order to cope with any slips and ensure that they don’t turn into complete reversals. Treatment programs have varying success rates, but many people with alcohol dependency have a full recovery.
GETTING HELP – Alcohol Addiction
Admitting that you have a drinking problem can be hard, but it is the first step to recovery. Although starting to drink again is common, alcohol problems can be overcome.
People typically do not seek treatment for alcohol abuse until they are ready. They must accept that they are addicted and no longer have control of their lives.
Sometimes family members point out the problem. Other times, people recognize that they have a problem after they have been arrested or lost a job or had other setbacks as a result of their drinking.
You can take steps today to stop drinking. Most people need continuing support to help stay sober. This can come from counseling or a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Staying sober is a lifelong process.
Members of AA have help available 24 hours a day. Get involved with a sober peer group and learn that it is possible to participate in social functions without drinking. You will get a model for recovery by observing the accomplishments of sober members of the group.
Thankfully, once an individual makes the choice to get clean and stay sober, there are a variety alcohol rehab centers that can meet his or her individual needs for therapy.
Successful Alcoholism Treatment
Excellent extensive program for alcoholism or any addiction. Learn how to live right and think right and live a joyious life.